Why February is not the only love month

I woke up in this world fatherless. I went to parks, to school, to church seeing children clinging to the arms of their mom and dad, while finding myself clinging only to my mom’s. I grew up timid and shy, always locked in a corner, sitting, swaying my legs while staring and observing at people, wondering why people behave in such a way, and why there seems to be something incomplete within me. My mom used to tell her friends that if other parents can’t leave their 1 year old sitting on a chair alone without falling off the chair, she can, ’cause I can stay in one place, observing people and things.

 

I always thought there’s something wrong with my very existence. I thought its weird that I don’t feel comfortable with a guy around me, and that I’m often silent and shy to express my thoughts. I thought its unusual that I easily get attached to people. I remember when my aunt looked after me the whole day, and I silently  cried after seeing her walk away from our house to leave for school. I thought its weird that I have a lot of imaginary friends who pay their whole attention to me. I always wonder why I get teary-eyed every time I watch videos that show a loving father. I always felt different from other kids.

 

I’ve been feeling that there’s lacking in my being until I encountered God. His love has found me. He told me that I don’t have to be sad about not having an earthly father, ’cause He’s there to be my everlasting father. He told me that there’s nothing wrong with me, ’cause He fearfully and wonderfully made me. He told me that I’ve got nothing to worry about, ’cause He has set my whole life. He promised me that the people around me may leave, but He will never leave me nor forsake me. He assured me that no one may love me, but He loves me unconditionally. And He makes me feel His overflowing love every day. Every time I need His comfort, He rescues me with His comfort. Every time I’m about to burst out of annoyance, He lends me self-control and gentleness. And every time I feel unloved, He fills my heart with His love.

 

I often fail him, but He never gave up on me. His mercy, love and grace remain. He even led me to where I am now. He allowed me to study in a prestigious school, when I can be out-of-school due to our financial incapacity. I’m now in my fourth year in college, and I’m looking forward to the things God has planned for me and to the places to which He would bring me. My everyday journey isn’t smooth-sailing, but He gave me a boat strong enough to conquer the waves.

 

I didn’t receive flowers or chocolates on Valentine’s Day, but I receive love in various forms from my great God every month, and every day. Every month, and every day, I celebrate love.

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5 Struggles in Online Selling

 

“Ruthy, come with us!”

 

My youth churchmates were calling me to get inside the van. I didn’t know where they would go, but I heeded to their plea. Later have I known that we were heading to Cebu South Road Properties’ open space to witness Bon Odori (Japanese Summer Festival). I was in awe with the number of people, the food stalls, clothing stalls, Japanese thrift-finds, performances onstage, and other amusement that occupy the whole area. I knew that our day out will be so much fun, but I didn’t know it would also effect a significant change in my life.

 

While we roamed around the area to see what all the stalls can offer our eyes, I saw a stall of classy block heels, strappy sandals and pointed sandals. When I saw the sandals, I wished I can buy them all! I was so attracted with the products, I won’t mind binge-buying. Good thing I didn’t bring my wallet with me. “I’ll surely buy from them soon,” I said to myself. I asked if the seller has a Facebook page, so I can reach them whenever I have enough funds. And they do have! They even accept resellers!

 

Fast-forward to present, I’ve been reselling their sandals for almost a year now. My first customers were my friends and churchmates. I really want to give them a million thanks, because without them, I wouldn’t be motivated and able to continue this pursuit.

 

In my first year in online selling industry, I’ve met people with varying personalities from different walks of life. I’ve learned a lot from this new experience, and it also helped in molding my character. But just like other lines of work, this industry is quite challenging. I’ll share with you some of the struggles I faced while selling sandals online for a year.

1. Managing your time well.

Some online sellers set a specific meet-up time and place. They usually don’t accept buyers who can’t go to their specified time and place for meet-ups. That practice would save online sellers’ time, fare, and effort, but there would also be a tendency for them to shoo buyers. Some of them have already set a name for their business, that’s why they do that. They know they’d have buyers regardless of the time and place they set for meet-ups. They aren’t afraid to lose some buyers anymore, since they already got enough, or even more than enough.

But in my case, I set three meet-up places for my buyers to choose. With regards to the meet-up time, I depend on my availability and on the free time of my buyer. This is why I have to manage my time well. I have classes and other org commitments, so I have to see to it that every meet-up fits in my fixed schedule.

2. Waiting for your customers for hours.

It’s already a given that sellers should arrive at the meet-up place on time. Similarly, sellers should also expect that there are some buyers who arrive later than the agreed meet-up time. Some have valid reasons for being late, while some don’t. I experienced waiting for a buyer for two hours.  It really made me upset especially that I have other things to do after the meet-up, and that it really wastes my time, but I have no choice but to wait since I’m the one who needs them.

3. Buyers who stand you up.

It’s bearable to wait for a buyer for hours as long as you have the assurance that they’ll show up. But there are buyers who won’t reply to your messages, and when they couldn’t take in their guilt, they’ll finally tell you that they’re sorry they can’t meet you either because their head aches, they have other appointments, or they can’t go out, among other unreasonable excuses. The first time experienced it, I just really stared at her text for minutes, as I was so shocked it did happen to me.

4. Buyers who want you to go to new places.

I have set three meet-up places for my buyers, but there are others who would demand you to go to new places, or to the exact place where they are as of the moment. The main reason why they ask for this is that they can’t go out, they’re busy with their baby, or they basically have no plans to go to your meet-up place. As a seller who’s desperate to release an item to keep the business going, I indulge to their request. There are times when I tell a buyer that I’m not familiar with the place she wants me to go, but she eagerly told me, “don’t worry, you can find your way here.” I don’t know how to react, but I was left with no choice but to concede. So if you’re planning to sell online and be very friendly to your buyers, this industry will really bring you to places.

5. Buyers who delivered-zone you.

Yes, not seen-zoned, but delivered-zone. I prefer being seen-zoned than having your message unread by a buyer, because when a buyer sees your message and just doesn’t reply, you can assume that maybe she just wants to see your items and use it for future references. With that, your effort is justified. Meanwhile, there are buyers who’ll ask you to personally send them the photos of your items, but leave your message unread. At first I feel bad that they ignored my message, but later on, I learned to ignore them.

 

All these struggles are part of online-selling industry’s nature. It has its advantages, but it also has its drawbacks. But just like our everyday lives, online selling isn’t always smooth-sailing. So when you decide to be an online seller, you must be ready to embrace the challenges you may face. Online sellers can only rant; but they can’t stop in the industry. Facing challenges in online-selling only tells us that it’s not easy to make money.

New Trend: Being in a Relationship

Being in a relationship is becoming a trend. It has now become a symbol for some–a symbol of belonging. It allows people to showoff that somebody actually liked or loved him/her. It also lessens people’s list of insecurities as they start to realize that someone can actually appreciate him/her despite being flawed.

This is evident in how couples nowadays post photos of the two of them when dating, and status containing their message for their partner. Now, you can hardly pinpoint a couple that doesn’t make their relationship known to the public. You can now easily determine if one’s in a relationship or not. You can just check it on people’s Facebook or Instagram account. And if a certain couple is really private, or is more than friends but less than a couple, just read through the comments sections of their posts. Their friends will give you clues about their status.

With the prevalent pop culture that Filipinos call, “Hugots”, one can understand where this being-in-a-relationship-trend is coming from. Almost everyone can relate to “Hugots” or bitter or melancholic quotes, but if people would know you’re way too in love and happy with your relationship, then you have something people are dreaming to have. For some, although some could be denying it, nothing could be more satisfying than being cared for, accompanied wherever you go, checked out, called before bedtime, and anything in between.

But this is not to discredit the love that people in a relationship have. Most people are in a relationship, not because it gives them a trophy or because it’s a necessity, but because they love each other. It’s just that, being in a relationship is something most people want to be in.

The Imitation Game Movie Review

Maybe it’s true that people criminalize one who has won a war, saved thousands of lives, contributed a revolutionary literature in scientific inquiry, and caused a city to exist ’til today, but honor those who stole millions from people, preys on the state and its resources and do injustice to the poor.

This is evident in Alan Turing’s life. A mathematician who, with the help of his colleagues and friends who has the best cryptographic minds in Britain, decrypted the German enigma machine and led the Allies to victory during World War I. Many high ranking officials in Britain’s top secret program doubted him and his machine. He worked for his machine for two years, and when the officials got impatient that the machine haven’t shown results, they forced Turing to stop the machines’ operations and tried to imprison him. His colleagues once got tired with him because they spent days producing nothing. Some also accused him of being a Soviet spy.  Attempts have been made to fire and put him down. But after all, he designed a machine that broke the German enigma machine’s codes. The enigma machine was believed to be impossible to solve. He “shortened the war by more than two years, saving over 14 million lives”. Indeed, the line that was repeatedly said in the movie is true, “Sometimes, it’s the people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things no one can imagine.”

However, despite making the world a better place, he was criminalized for being different. He was sentenced for indecency just because he’s homosexual. He was then made to choose either to go to prison or to undergo a hormonal therapy. He chose to go through hormonal therapy. The medication had negative effects on Turing. His hands and eyes started to twitch, and his mind began to blur. This then caused him to get depressed knowing that there’s something wrong with his existence; that no matter how he tries to contribute for the betterment of the society, regardless of how hard he works, he’s still unappreciated, just because he’s different.

A year after he was mandated by the British government to undergo a hormonal therapy, he committed suicide. He was just 41 years old that time. And in 2013, Queen Elizabeth II granted Turing posthumous royal pardon, to honor his unprecedented achievements.

The pardon gave him justice, but not what he actually deserves. Saving millions of lives is not easy. He deserved to be recognized, to be honored, and to be given the long life he deserves.

People may not have heard of his name ever since, but he’s the reason why you can surf the internet now. “Alan Turing’s work inspired generations of research into what scientists called “Turing Machines”. Today, we call them computers.”

Countless

How many congested prison cells

Dead men on the street to startle our blank minds on a good day walk

Urban poor protesters facing waves of terror from the police

Squatters sprayed with tear gas when fighting against illegal demolition

Sidewalk vendors losing their goods after being sprayed with kerosene by the MMDA
Farmers and fishermen losing their livelihood in exchange of private infrastructures

Lumads killed in their peaceful mundane day for a mining corporation’s whims

Street children running around the streets

Do we need

To make us realize that criminalizing the poor would force them to actually commit crimes and would show how influenced we are by American’s racialization

That by unceasingly portraying the poor as lumpen, uncritical and irrational in the media,  we taint their image as humans, deny them their rights, and draw them away from job and scholarship opportunities.

What kind of violence and corruption,

How many billions of cash

Can satisfy our greedy souls,

Can stimulate us to give a little genuine heart to the poor

 

Sated

via Daily Prompt: Sated

I want to go to Manila and work with artists, but I can’t yet. I’m fortunately studying in Cebu through a scholarship. This means that I have no choice yet, but to stay here, wait until I graduate, get a job and get a masters degree maybe in Diliman. I have no right to complain about studying in Cebu and waiting ’til I get my own job so I could pursue my dream. I’m even so fortunate to study in the University of the Philippines for free. I could have been studying in a not-so-well-known college since my parents can’t afford sending me to school. But God is so great that He doesn’t just send me to school; he sent me to a prestigious school where quality education can be acquired.

Given that favor from God, I decided not to cling on my plans after I studied in an arts school. I was stuck in thinking of pursuing arts in college, but life surprises me with events that for sure happen for reasons, and would lead me to the successful life more than I imagined. Back then, I was afraid I’m staying in Cebu for four years and I might be missing out some things since I’m gonna stop practicing my craft. But now, I want to surrender my big dream to God and live life for Jesus. I know God knows about my dream, and I know He would grant me this in His perfect time. Or if He won’t, I know He would bring me to an event that’s greater than my dream; maybe something I haven’t thought about. I know God’s thoughts are greater than mine, so I just want to trust Him.

For four years, I unconsciously had a mindset that the world revolves in Makiling only. I thought there’s something more to arts than other fields that people can’t grasp and understand. I thought mastering an art field effectively and creatively, communicating through art, and blowing the minds of the people is the zenith of development communication. I thought life is most preferably lived in the field of arts.

However, as I left Makiling for a year already, my mindset changed. In my first year in college, I met and knew the stories of people from all walks of life– mostly those who have no inclination to arts. I observed them living, and first of all, I realized that to most people, what matters the most is to at least improve their lives. They could be interested to plunge in the arts but it isn’t one of their main agenda for now. Currently, their minds are focused on ways they could earn for living. For the same reason, most PHSA alumni didn’t pursue arts as their field of profession (I interviewed and researched some of them)

Secondly, I realized arts is also a medium of communication. As a mass communication student, I learned the purpose of media, its strengths and drawbacks. It has always been boggling my mind if I’m going to pursue theater arts or mass communication. Since I studied theater arts for four years in Makiling, I was wondering if I’m still in the right track, or if I’m still doing the field I’m passionate about. Then I asked myself what I really wanted to be. I want to be an effective communicator to effect change and development. I believe in the power of communication as a medium for development. And then I thought about how Makiling taught me the purpose of art. Its aims are similar to that of mass communication, except the two functions differently in the society. Both aims to open the minds of the public, to educate them, to trigger the public to move and do something about the information they got, and afterwards, to effect change. Thus, as a communicator, arts can be incorporated in mass media, while mass media could also be used in making works of arts. Both are interconnected with each other.

So now, I can confidently say I’m sated with where I am now and what God has planned for my life.

Dear Future

I thought I’ve figured you out. In my last year in high school, I already have a life timeline. I thought of going to college, pursuing acting, being part of a theater company, breathing, living life to the full. But things didn’t go as I want it to. You are full of surprises. You have this way of leading me to the great unknown and leave me there to discover things. I didn’t apprehend that immediately.

Before, when things didn’t happen as planned, I got depressed and found the wrong ways to escape from it. I stumbled in the midst of the journey. But I think that’s the best thing about you. You surprise us, allow us to make mistakes, and teach us what we ought to learn.

No, I won’t ever figure you out. I still don’t understand what purpose these challenges I face serve. I don’t know what will happen next. But I think that’s the best thing in life–we tread on a new and uncomfortable path, we stumble, we strive, we learn, and our journey continues as a cycle.

Silent Scream

Savoring the silence, and the firm unnoticed twisting of my tongue. I believe it’s best this way, speaking only when needed, when my thoughts can’t help but go berserk. I’m convinced it’s best to keep things to yourself since nobody cares anyway. And even if they’d do, they can’t lessen your grievances, pain, frustration and bitterness in any way.

On extra-judicial killings in the PH

Some question why we should fight for the human rights of the drug addicts–since those who are killed are alleged drug addicts–when they tend to rape, snatch, or kill when they’re high. Some even say na if only we were once a victim of the crimes these drug addicts have done, we won’t join rallies against extra-judicial killings, and we’d rather hope for them to be killed.

On the other hand, the opposition says an extra-judicial killings protest isn’t a fight against drugs. They fight for human rights, freedom and protection especially now that anyone can be killed without being proven guilty. Those who are killed could only be accused of illegal drug usage.

I have one theory for this issue. Maybe PH gov’t has a secret agency that investigates the workings of drug lords and its subjects. And the relatives of those who are killed only say their loved one isn’t a drug pusher because they can’t accept what happened to their relative. THIS IS JUST A THEORY, and whatever the truth is, we’ll never know–until it’s revealed. Our president and our chief police ensured they’re against vigilantism, though.

But my stand is this. Regardless of the crime that one has committed, I don’t think it’s just to end someone’s life. Whether one uses illegal drugs or not, I believe killing that person isn’t our sole solution. And, no matter how sinful or worthless a person is, one still has the right to life, protection and freedom. If you read the list of human rights and our rights in the constitution, you wouldn’t see there that criminals are exempted from these rights. I’m not fighting for them; of course, they have to pay for all their wrongs. But who are we to kill a human being? Don’t we have other ways to penalize them? What do we do to people who are only accused, but are killed?

A friend said, “you write, ’cause you’re in pain.”

A friend said, “you write, ’cause you’re in pain.”

I have second thoughts in agreeing with this statement.

Yes, most of the time, I write when my thoughts and feelings overwhelm me. However, I don’t only write about the heartache and circumstances I’m going through. I also write about social issues, and I write journalistic articles.

Saying that people write because they are in pain, heartbroken or anything whatnot, is an overstatement. This is not always the case.

But if some people write through the pain they couldn’t take, they are at an advantage over some people who take drugs, smoke, or drink liquor at their heart’s content–gradually killing themselves while problems similarly kill them–for the lack of a better escape from their hardships.